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May 5, 2009

How many trees are cut down every year to create single use disposable coffee cups?

According to Sustainability Is Sexy more than 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to create the 16 billion paper cups thrown away. Coffee shop paper cups are not made from recycled paper because of FDA regulation and the fact that recycled paper is not strong enough to hold the liquid and prevent hot coffee leaks and spills. Therefore most paper cups are made from 100% virgin paperwood.

Deforestation is the process by which trees in a forest are cut down. The reasons for deforestation are numerous, including logging (to make paper products), increasing farmland, mining and population expansion. This deforestion creates wastelands and deserts, but in our opinion there is a far more environmentally important result.

Trees are like Carbon Dioxide sponges. They remove carbon from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis and release small amounts of Oxygen back into the atmosphere. Only an actively growing tree can perform this function. The Carbon absorbed by the trees is also compacted into the soil where after millions of years it creates the fossil fuels we use abundantly today. Cutting down trees, exposes this soil and allows this carbon stored in the soil to be realeased back into the atmosphere.

Therefore by chopping down trees we remove the planets natural Carbon Dioxide filter and also release more carbon into the atmosphere from the soil. And as we all know increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a major cause of our global warming environmental problem.



To add to this increased carbon dioxide from deforestation, the creation and then disposable of all these coffee cups, creates even more carbon dioxide. Creating the paper requires large machines that belch out carbon dioxide and burning of non -recycleable used coffee cups also increases carbon emmissions.

Of course planting trees is an excellent way to reduce some of the damage caused by deforestation, but we must also commit to reducing our waste and to reusing our own personal coffee mugs.

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Posted: May 5, 2009 10:53am

 

 
 
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Dudley Tabakin
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Irvine, CA, USA
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